The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) has suspended the processing of new accreditation applications for academic programmes from all public universities, including the technical universities, with immediate effect until January 1, 2024.
The suspension, however, does not cover the University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD) at Somanya in the Eastern Region.
The decision, GTEC says, is informed by the need to sanitise the accreditation space as a result of the persistent non-compliance by some institutions with the accreditation requirements of the country.
A communication to all public universities, signed and issued by the Director of Accreditation of GTEC, John Dadzie Mensah, stated that “any public university that submits new programme accreditation application for consideration by the commission post December 31, 2023, must demonstrate a clean sheet of programmes in good standing (having valid accreditation status) before the new one is admitted”.
Rather than the directive indicting public universities, Mr Mensah admitted that most of the public universities were actually doing well with the accreditation processes, “particularly those with relatively fewer programmes”.
Taking the Daily Graphic through the accreditation process, he explained that “programmes are submitted at different times for accreditation, and so, the accreditation periods overlap.
“Active and non-active accreditation status of programmes of an institution will, therefore, overlap always,” Mr Mensah further explained.
He said it meant that programmes were due for re-accreditation every day just as accreditation periods also expired, and that while some were being approved for accreditation and re-accreditation, new applications were also being received for fresh accreditation or re-accreditation.
“That is why every institution is encouraged to initiate the re-accreditation process one full year before the active accreditation expires, mindful of the fact that the quality assurance processes leading to the granting of accreditation takes time,” he said.
Mr Mensah said he was convinced that if the policy was strictly observed, it would minimise the overlaps.
“It, therefore, has very few programmes with none near expiry as far as accreditation status is concerned.
The UESD, a new tertiary institution, is exempted because it is starting operation from scratch.
“As a baby institution, it is being encouraged to introduce more programmes to be firm on the ground,” Mr Mensah said.
Giving the background that informed the decision, Mr Mensah said there had been public concerns following recent publications of the Auditor-General’s Reports on the accreditation status of programmes of some public universities.
“This has made it necessary to take a pause to evaluate the situation to inform practice on the part of both the regulator and the institutions.
“Although the break is for only three months, we appreciate how it may negatively impact the operations of the affected institutions,” he said, describing it as a necessary evil.